40+ Ways to Make Your Next
Book Signing an EVENT!!

by Larry James

Part 1 of 4

Note: Several of these book signing tips were featured in an article, "Handle the Spotlight," by Cal Orey for the May, 2006 issue of "The Writer" Magazine.

Here are some tips and suggestions that have helped me increase the number of books sold at a book signing. Many are my own, and some were suggested by other author friends. Each book store has its own distinctive personality. While I do not attempt to do all of the suggested tips at every signing, it is important to adapt as many as you can to fit each store's personality. Believe me, doing so will increase the opportunity to sell more books.

DO - Write your own announcement for the book stores intercom. Make it short and brief. Give them several versions because they usually announce that you are there several times. Don't hesitate to remind them to make the announcement again if it's been awhile since the last announcement. They often will get busy and forget. Every half hour should do it. If you do lectures or give speeches about your book and are in town for a keynote or seminar that is open to the public, include information about that too. Let the book store choose to include it in the announcement or not.

DON'T - Don't just sit at the table they have for you. Most authors do that. Be different! Reach out and touch someone! Don't wait for them to come to you. I always tell the person booking the signing not to worry about putting a chair behind the table. This will always get their attention. Let them know you will be the store's official greeter while you are there. Walk around the store with several copies of your book and introduce yourself to everyone.

Request at least a dozen books for your table to illustrate you have plenty available. If those you introduce yourself to show the least bit of interest, hand them a book. They will almost always take it. Tell them to look at it and bring it back to the table when they are finished. On average, I more than tripled my book sales at signings by implementing this tip!

DO - Have an attractive four-color bookmark designed by a graphic artist and print thousands of them. You can give them to everyone who comes in the store. List a few endorsements on it as well as a brief paragraph of what the book is about. Leave your contact information off. Put the price and the ISBN number on. Book stores often have their own bookmarks and are reluctant to have you give yours out if they think their customer is going to you direct. (I use a red rubber stamp to imprint my website address on the reverse side of the bookmarks I give out in the store, but not on the bookmarks I "leave" at the book store.)

I often will sign a bookmark for someone who lingers at my table but does not buy my book. Remember your mission: "Spread good will!" Many people will come back to the store and buy your book after you have left. Send the book store several hundred bookmarks and suggest that they include them in the bags of people who buy books before your book signing.

  • BONUS TIP #1: I include bookmarks for all three of my relationship books plus a business card in every piece of correspondence that leaves my office. The utility companies send statement stuffers to you, so why not send one back? When paying bills, slip in several of your bookmarks along with your check.

  • BONUS TIP #2: When junk mail arrives, keep the "postage-paid" envelope and throw everything else away. I had tiny notes printed that say,

"You were kind enough to send us your stuff. . . professional speaker, author & relationship coach, Larry James invites you to check out his stuff at www.CelebrateLove.com, a site designed to help you fit the pieces of the relationship puzzle together in a healthy way."

Next, I paperclip the note to several of my bookmarks and drop their "postage-paid" envelope in the mail on my next mail run. Hey! Why not? It only takes a minute and "they" are paying for the postage! Let 'em stack up and stuff 'em while you're watching the game.

DO - If you are on a tight budget, use your printer to print out some mini-flyers on white paper. Include your book cover image, a brief description about the book, a brief author bio and customize them with the book store's name, address and phone number at the bottom. 3 or 4-up on an 8 1/2 x 11 page works well. Cut them on your paper cutter and you're ready to go. You can also hand out reprints of excerpts from your book or articles with your contact info on the bottom. Remember to include the copyright info.

DO - Four-color postcards which feature your book covers OR the home page on your website are great give-aways.

DO - Get to know the "Community Relations Coordinator" (CRC). They are the ones who will book you again if they like you. I've been back to the same Barnes and Noble store three times in the last 9 months in the Phoenix area.

DO - Send the person who booked the signing a brief "thank you" note. I'm told that authors seldom do this. I've had several people call me to thank me for sending the note.

DO - Write a follow up commendation letter to the CRC's manager as a fantastic way to thank and build good relations with both the CRC, the book store and you.

DO - Remember to call at least two months in advance if you want to be included in their in-store flyer.

DO - Go to Kinko's and have your book covers enlarged in color to an 11 x 17 poster, laminate them and have them put them on a poster type board with a stand up thing on the back. Always bring them with you to the signings! Anything else you can think of to call attention to your table is also GREAT!

DO - Ask them for a media list (radio, TV, etc.). Some don't have them, but the ones who do will usually share it or tell you where to get it. It makes calling the radio and TV stations easier. If they don't have a media list, ask them which stations they would recommend that might be interested in an interview. When they know you are also doing stuff to promote the signing, usually they do more too!

DO - Ask for a community list, i.e., Chamber of Commerce, Society of the Arts, etc. Send them a news release about your book signing (and seminar or keynote, if applicable). You never know where your speaking engagements may come from. Check first with your meeting planner to get permission, then add a personal note to the news release inviting them to come and hear you speak. (You do accept speaking engagements to talk about your book topic, don't you?).

Go to Book Signing Tips - Part 2

Copyright - Larry James. Reprinted with permission. - Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, "How to Really Love the One You're With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship," "LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing" and "Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers." Larry James also offers "Author & Speaker" coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. LarryJames@AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com - www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

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